Philadelphia is seeing a lot of green these days. Perhaps it is the facades of some of the city’s prominent structures that are illuminated green, among them City Hall and the Ben Franklin Bridge. Maybe it’s because increasing numbers of people in its streets are donning green jerseys with the names McNabb, Westbrook and a few choice others emblazoned across the back. Or is it that one can see the color of envy in the faces of countless fans who so desperately covet what the New England Patriots already have?
The Philadelphia Eagles hope to satisfy the city’s hunger for a championship when they take to the field at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville this Sunday. Super Bowl XXXIX will mark only the second appearance by the Eagles at a Super Bowl, the first ending in a loss to the Oakland Raiders with a score of 27-10. Interpreted by some as an omen of greater things to come, the same score resulted in the Eagles’ Jan. 23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in their fourth straight NFC Championship game.
At long last, that game was to earn McNabb and company a trip to Jacksonville. Even though the Eagles had clinched their division before the end of the regular season, clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and had wrapped-up a first week-bye going into the playoffs. Anxiety blanketed the city like the snow that ticket holders to the fateful game would have to contend with. Nearly 40 mph winds blew away the shadows of the three previous losses the team, and the city, had endured. The Eagles were able to swoop into Lincoln Financial Field and stop Falcons’ quarterback Michael Vick from finally running away with the title that should have been theirs – Conference Champions.
The city cautiously celebrated after the win so as not to disturb the ghosts of the 1980 team who, under the leadership of head coach Dick Vermeil (currently head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs), lost miserably in Super Bowl XV. Some suggested that the players were wound too tight and too tired after the raucous celebrations that followed their win over the despised Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship that year.
The current Super Bowl-bound team doesn’t seem to believe history will haunt them. The New England Patriots, however, are a formidable challenger. The team returns to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years and as the reigning champions. Should the Patriots win this game, their head coach, Bill Belichick, will surpass Vince Lombardi’s post-season coaching record. It is the trophy that bears Lombardi’s name that will be awarded to the victors of Sunday’s game. The city, with all its jaded splendor, hopes that the Eagles can soar high toward one more win. In the words of one Temple student, but echoed by many, “We’re goin’ all the way, baby. One team, one city, one dream.”
Brooke Honeyford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.